Digital Cameras - Fuji FinePix F401 Test Images
(Original test posting: 10/21/02)
|I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for our test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all* that detail, I'm posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!|
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way. The object is to hold highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the F401 did very well in that respect. The shot at right was taken with a +0.6 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which produced good midtone values and only a slight loss of detail in the highlights. I chose the Auto white balance setting, which produced similar, slightly greenish results to the Daylight setting. (Daylight white balance had a slightly stronger green cast.) The blue flowers of the bouquet are a little dark, with faint purple tints in the darker areas, but overall are much more accurate than what I'm accustomed to seeing on this shot from other cameras. Skin tones are a little flat, but are close to accurate. A lot of fine detail is visible throughout the frame, though the interpolation four-megapixel resolution from a basically 2.4 megapixel sensor results in some artifacts, making details appear softer than on cameras with true four megapixel sensors. (As with other SuperCCD-based cameras though, the F401's images look much better when printed than when viewed 1:1 onscreen.) Detail is moderate in the shadow areas, but there's quite a bit of noise.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.2 EV, see files F41OUTAP0.HTM through F41OUTAP4.HTM on our thumbnail index page.
Overall results are similar to the wider shot above, and the F401's 3x lens helps prevent distortion of Marti's features. Visible fine detail increases in her face and hair, but the interpolation again produces a number of artifacts, which give the appearance of soft details. The main shot was taken at the default exposure setting, which produced good midtone values. The highlight areas are a hint bright, but overall exposure looks good.
To view the entire exposure series, from -0.3 to +0.6 EV, see files F41FACAM1.HTM through F41FACAP2.HTM on our thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Good intensity and color.
The F401's flash illuminated the subject with slightly low intensity but good overall color. In the Normal flash mode, the flash produced reasonably bright results without any exposure compensation. The background incandescent lighting creates an orange / magenta cast on the back wall, a common occurrence with this shot. The camera's Slow Synchro flash mode produced slightly brighter results, as the longer exposure allowed more ambient light into the image. I chose an exposure adjustment of +0.6 EV, which produced the brightest shot.
To view the entire exposure series in the Slow Synchro flash mode, see files F41INFSP0.HTM through F41INFSP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Strong color casts with both white balance settings.
This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting. (A very common shooting condition for indoor photography in the US, though.) The F401's white balance system had some difficulty here, producing color casts with both white balance settings. The Incandescent setting resulted in a warm, yellowish color balance, while the Auto setting resulted in a pinkish color balance. The blue flowers are dark and purplish, a common problem among digicams with this shot.
A lot of artifacts in the fine foliage, but good resolution for a 2+ megapixel sensor.
I chose the Auto white balance for this shot, as the Daylight white balance setting produced slightly warmer results. The Auto setting is just a little warm, but overall color still looks good, though saturation is weak (possibly from overexposure). The F401 picks up a lot of fine detail in the house as well as in the tree limbs above the roof. However, the fine foliage details have strong artifacts with a rectilinear texture, and appear soft. Corner softness is fairly strong, and details are a little soft throughout the frame.
Limited dynamic range and soft detail, but good color.
This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.
This is my ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this. The F401 picks up a lot of fine detail in the tree limbs above the roof and in the shrubbery in front of the house. Details are just slightly soft, and the fine foliage again has the blocky artifacts which affect the apparent sharpness. (As I noted earlier though, SuperCCD images like this look much better when printed than when viewed onscreen.) Corner softness isn't quite as evident in this shot, but is still present. Exposure is a little bright, and the harsh sunlight causes the camera to lose the highlight detail on the white trim of the bay window. However, the shadow area above the front porch fares better, as the brick pattern shows stronger detail. The table below shows our standard resolution and quality series, followed by an ISO series.
Lens Zoom Range
A typical 3x zoom range.
I routinely shoot this series of images to show the field of view for each camera, with the lens at full wide angle, at maximum telephoto (3x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The F401's lens is equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera. The 401's digital telephoto works by cropping out the central pixels from the full-sized CCD image, but it doesn't subsequently resample them back up to a larger file size. The result is a smaller image covering less of the subject area, but at least the image isn't made softer as the zoom level is increased. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
Good resolution and detail, though warm color balance.
Both the Auto and Daylight white balance settings produced similar images here. I chose the Auto setting for the main image, as it had the most accurate skin tones of the two, although both showed a slightly warm cast that resulted in a yellow-green tint throughout the image. Resolution is high, with a lot of detail in the embroidery of the blue robe as well as in the flower garland. As I noticed throughout the testing, the interpolated resolution results in a lot of blocky-looking artifacts throughout the frame.
About average macro performance.
The F401 performs about average in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of 3.7 x 2.8 inches (94 x 70 millimeters). Resolution is high, with good detail on the coins, brooch, and dollar bill. Details are just slightly soft, with a "pixelated" appearance. Exposure is bright, and color balance is warm from the Auto white balance setting. The F401's flash throttles down well for the macro area, although the close shooting distance results in the flash casting a dark shadow on the left side of the frame.
Davebox Test Target
Strong green color cast.
Both the Auto and Daylight white balance settings resulted in warm, slightly greenish images. Exposure is about right, as the camera picks up the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target well. The large color blocks are all affected by the green cast, and saturation is slightly weak. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows limited detail, with very high noise.
High noise and warm color, but should capture images under normal city street lighting.
Though the F401 operates under automatic exposure control, with a maximum shutter speed of only 1/4 second. This limits the camera's low-light shooting capabilities quite a bit. The F401 captured bright, clear images at light levels as low as 1/2 foot-candle (5.5 lux) at the 1,600 ISO equivalent setting, and as low as one foot-candle (11 lux) at ISO 800 and 400. At ISO 200, the camera produced the best images at two foot-candles (22 lux). Since average city street lighting at night is equivalent to about one foot-candle, or 11 lux, the F401 will need a flash for shots any darker, unless shooting at the higher ISO setting. Color is warm from the Auto white balance. Noise is very high at the 800 and 1,600 ISO settings, decreasing slightly with 400 and 200 settings. (The camera automatically adjusts the image resolution to one-megapixel at the 1,600 ISO setting.) The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels, at each ISO setting. Images in this table (like all sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.
Flash Range Test
Low flash intensity even at eight feet, with steadily decreasing brightness from there.
The F401's flash produced a low intensity even at eight feet from the target, our shortest test distance. Overall brightness continued to decrease with each additional foot of distance, becoming very dark at the 14 foot mark. Below is our flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
The F401 performed fairly well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 600 lines per picture height vertically and horizontally. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,100 lines though. "Extinction" of the target patterns occurred at about 1,300 lines.
Optical distortion on the F401 is a bit higher than average at the wide-angle end, as I measured an 0.89 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared much better, with only about one pixel of pincushion distortion present. Chromatic aberration is low, showing about three or four pixels of very light coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) The most noticeable distortion I saw was pronounced corner softness in a few shots, such as the House poster and Macro shot.
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
A very tight optical viewfinder, slightly more accurate LCD monitor.
The F401's optical viewfinder was very tight, showing approximately 83 percent frame accuracy at wide-angle, and approximately 81 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor was a bit more accurate, showing approximately 91 percent frame accuracy at wide-angle, and approximately 90 percent at telephoto. Given that I generally prefer LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the F401 has some room for improvement here. Flash distribution at wide angle brightest in the center of the frame, with slight falloff at the edges and corners. At telephoto, flash distribution is more even, but dim.
F401 Test Images
F401 "Picky Details"
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